I have an autistic spectrum disorder. When I was 16, I was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome. Asperger’s Syndrome is no longer a diagnosis in the newest DSM categories because it is all now under Autism spectrum disorder. It doesn’t mean Asperger’s Syndrome ceases to exist – it just means that we are using different language to describe what it is. Autism is a spectrum, no person with Autism is the same as any other person with Autism.
It is so difficult sometimes to know what things are autism and what things are normal. It all feels normal to me. What is normal anyway? Over the past few years, I have been on a journey of self-discovery and I am so much more comfortable in my own skin and with who I am today than I was at 16 years old.
Some days are better than others though. Sometimes I manage to say the right things and feel like I am masking any oddness, and other times I say something that comes across awkward or weird.
In addition to being on the autism spectrum disorder, I am an introvert, I have an anxiety disorder, I have struggled with mild depression, and have some mild language use issues. Growing up, I was an observer, also selectively mute. When I was at school, I was extremely shy and would barely speak and when I did, my voice was often very soft and whisper like. I was so conscious of following the rules, but the rules were not always clear.
As I got older, the rules became more clear, and I had a lot more knowledge to guide my decisions. Though I am still very indecisive. I think my indecision is brought on because I over think. When I am faced with a decision, I tend to start thinking of what might happen in which scenario. Then I fixate on certain outcomes, which means I temporarily forget that there may be other possible outcomes. I over think to the point that I freeze and can not make a decision because I can not figure out the right decision. It is especially difficult when the decision is something that is supposed to be for fun but I am taking it too seriously. I worry about making a decision that someone else might not like.
Lately with this Covid-19 corona virus pandemic, this has affected me in new ways. For example, I just came back from the grocery store. There is only one entrance now, to control how many people are in the store. Thankfully, it was not too busy at the time I went, so I did not have to wait in a line today. I got nervous initially because I did not see any baskets by the entrance. I also saw an employee manning a “sanitation” station and I wondered, What am I supposed to do? Am I supposed to sanitize my basket when I get it or when I leave the store afterwards? Or is am I supposed to leave my basket there so he can sanitize it? Or is it just to make us feel safer? I had fully expected to see sanitizer available to wipe down the basket or for hands but I am always confused when to use it. I do not want to look awkward in my attempt to use it. What if I use it wrong? I am so anxious all the time of doing something wrong, worrying that people will judge me if I am doing something the wrong way. It is why I prefer to observe first. This is a new situation. I used to be able to go to the grocery store knowing what to expect. So I got used to it. It still caused me anxiety some times. But this is causing me anxiety every time. AND to top it all off, this grocery store is always out of all paper products!! I need to get more toilet paper and paper towel. I will try going out later today or tomorrow or the next day to another store and hope for the best.
Okay, that is all I have to say for today. That was a lot. But I haven’t wrote anything down for awhile and it always so much easier to type and I have a lot of thoughts on my mind. I want to write a book about a girl on the autism spectrum but I am not sure what ideas I have for it. I was thinking maybe of writing a fan fiction but then now realizing maybe I should just write a new original story.
Take care! ~ Heather